This International Women's Day, a reminder: The veil/burqa/niqab is…

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This International Women's Day, a reminder: The veil/burqa/niqab is…

Unread postby Brenden » 8 March 2021, 13:28

…sexist, misogynistic:
Islamic law (Sharia) requires women to cover themselves. The practical application in modern Muslim countries varies with a combination of individual and social taste. The Taliban require full burqas (covering everything, including a mesh for the eyes), while the more secular governments of Turkey and Tunisia once banned headscarves in public buildings (the bans have since been lifted following the rist of Islamism).

The head covering is interpreted as a symbol of male domination by most critics - andthose Muslim women who fight for the right to dress as they please.  A 21-year-old named Katia Bengana became the first casualty of the renewed Islamist terror campaign in Algeria after refusing to cover her hair.  She defended her choice even as the gun was pointed at her head.

Some apologists insist that the veil is not mandated by the religion, although they do not have anything within the sacred texts to counter the passages in which Muhammad instructed its use. In fact, verse 24:60 says that the veil is optional only for unmarried women too old to have children.

Curiously, the same apologists who claim that women do not have to wear hijabs often make a great deal of noise when employers in the West ask their workers not to wear them for practical reasons.  Although they say that it is not a religious requirement, they certainly do not act like it.

CAIR's Jamal Badawi, often held up as a 'moderate' scholar, insists that the hijab is "a command of Allah to Muslim women" and it should be "the duty of the state" to enforce it.

In 2017, al-Azhar university in Egypt decreed that the veil was compulsory for Muslim women... and not even open for debate: "It is not acceptable that anyone from the public or non-specialized people, regardless of their culture, to voice their opinions on the matter." Can anyone seriously claim that the leading Sunni institution in the world doesn't understand Islam?

Many women do wear the hijab by choice, but it is impossible to say what percentage, since the pressure to cover one's head can be subtle or pronounced.  In 2011, an imam at a supposedly moderate mosque in Sammamish, Washington claimed that Muslim wives wear the hijab because they want to, but then stated that they may be "punished" if they refuse. In Pakistan, uncovered women are routinelyattacked with acid. In Iran, Basij fundamentalists have raped and killed dress code violators.

Clerics, such as Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, have said that unveiled victims of public rape invited their attackers: "If I came across a rape crime – kidnap and violation of honour – I would discipline the man and order that the woman be arrested and jailed for life.' Why would you do this, Rafihi? He says because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn't have snatched it... If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem."

In responding to a 2014 anti-hijab demonstration by women, an Iranian activist bluntly stated that "it is a man's right to benefit from what he loves. When a man forces himself onto a woman because she is showing off her beauty, this should not be considered rape."

In 2017, an Islamist lawyer on Egyptian TV stated that "when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her."

Even the most prominent Islamic scholar in Europe, Tariq Ramadan, told one of his own rape victims: "Either you wear a veil or you get raped."

In keeping with this theme, Muslim rapists in the West have been known to credit their motivation to the victim's choice of dress (one such example being from Australia in 2011). It is somewhat obvious that many women rely on the veil for for protection against unwanted male attention in Islamic society. Even non-Muslim residents and Western visitors to the Islamic world often find it necessary to cover themselves so as to avoid the harassment of Muslim men on the street.

In 2014, a cleric suggested that babies be put into burqas to protect them against molestation. (Condemning child molesters eventually occurred to him as an afterthought).

In 2018, a refugee to Sweden beat his 14-year-old sister with a baseball bat for refusing to wear the veil.

In 2019, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who famously resists calls to condemn Female Genital Mutilation, was accused of hypocrisy for appearing to care more about the removal of a headscarf than the forced removal of a child's clitoris. ... veils.aspx

…illiberal, and antithetical to a free, open, civilised society:
[C]itizenship equality is, in fundamental ways, integrally related in Western traditions to citizens being visible to one another. This expectation is registered in theories of moral judgment (consider the role played by the “spectator” in Adam Smith and Kant’s theories of judgment) and in some of our most potent democratic terms and metaphors: enlightenment, openness, transparency, illumination, recognition, social legibility, accountability, “publicity” and, not least, public, to which we return in the next paragraph. The echo of biblical revelation and ancient Greek thought in these notions is audible. For the eighteenth century philosophes, enlightenment substituted Holy Writ with “the great book of nature, open for all mankind to read.” The heavenly city of the philosophes was a City of Light surpassing in its rational luminosity even the splendor of the Sun King (Becker 1932: 51, 105-6) 105-6). Negating these images are opacity, the Dark Ages, the dark arts, dark times, heart of darkness, artifice, living in the closet, a shadowy realm, a troglodyte world (Paul Fussell’s depiction of World War I trench warfare), cave-like illusion, Stygian gloom, moral blindness, the id, concealment, inscrutability, subterfuge, murkiness, obscurantism, and backroom deals—notions which imply various states of ignorance, menace and deceit.In sharp contrast,liberals trumpet the virtue of the Open Society and liberalized Marxists idealize the translucent speech-situation. Socialists and radicals extol debunking, the heir of Rousseau’s (1750, 1993:7) crusade to remove the “deceitful veil of politeness” which conceals “fear, coldness, reserve, hate, and fraud”. True, prominent French intellectuals of the last century sought to demote vision’s status in the pantheon of sensibility (Jay 1994), while conservatives still remain attached to the “decent drapery of life” (Burke 1790 1999: 171). Yet these perspectives have done little to impede the centrality of seeing within the Western, Apollonian political aesthetic.

[…] While for its bearer the N/B may be understood as a badge of tradition and piety, from the standpoint of a constitutional pluralist citizenry it is a mode of concealment incompatible with public recognition in which visibility of face is central. The N/B denudes facial and, to a degree, vocal recognition, debilities to which we shall return in a more sociological context later. It standardizes human features and hence contributes to the very stereotyping that N/B wearers themselves deplore. Faces and voices are all different, evidence of human plurality. The N/B literally effaces these variations, with the partial exception of the eyes that may sometimes be seen. The N/B also symbolically ruptures the bond of citizenship reciprocity because while its wearer can see her real or potential interlocutor, can take advantage of the visibility of others, non-wearers are denied such access.The integral importance of reciprocity to “public reason” and, its corollary, deliberative democracy, is a leitmotif of John Rawls’s later work. Rawls says that the role “of the criterion of reciprocity…is to specify the nature of the political relation in a constitutional democratic regime as one of civic friendship” (Rawls 1999: 137). In Arendtian terms, N/B apparel is an obstruction to “appearance”—“something that is seen and heard by everybody and has the widest possible publicity.”

[…] On the contrary, [the N/B] signifies Sharia’s total claim on the individual in all her activities, the type of claim that the public-private distinction expressly repudiates. […]

[…] Because the “idea of a political community of equals … lies at the heart of citizenship.” Bellamy (2008:114) also remarks that “citizenship involves a degree of solidarity and reciprocity between citizens” and that such citizens “need to see each other as equal partners within a collective enterprise.” If that is true, the N/B is a negation of citizenship. Disguising the face, and avoiding contact with the kafir, disables citizens from “seeing” each other as free and equal partners.
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